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February 10, 2015
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VIDEO: "Decision to Attend Study" Dispels the Millennials Myth




The International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Professional Convention Management Association and The Experience Institute have collaborated on a unique research project that studies not just attendee behavior, but the influencing factors of choosing the exhibitions, meetings and events they will attend.
 
“This is a powerful collaboration among organizations whose members rely on the ROI of their exhibitions and events,” said IAEE President & CEO David DuBois. “It is our business to know what is at the forefront of attendees’ decisions to attend or pass on a meeting, and this study really delves into that information.”

PCMA President & CEO Deborah Sexton agrees. "Maximizing attendance and developing a positive attendee experience parallels PCMA's mission.  We...encourage our professional and supplier members to become actively engaged in shaping best practices and strategies to maximize attendance, together."

At PCMA's Convening Leaders CEO Summit in Chicago, The Experience Institute CEO Mickey Schaefer said that the Decision to Attend Study – Phase One is an extensive report resulting from an online poll resulting in 7,171 responses from current and potential attendees. The survey examined the reasons individuals chose to attend or not attend conventions and exhibitions, held by 10 different organizations representing a range of professions and industries. The data also found that the Millennial Generation (or Generation Y) view attendance at events as important aspects of their personal and professional development, in stark contrast to the myth that they are unlikely to participate in face-to-face meetings.
 

The Destination Experience

The goal of the study is to go beyond the traditional group profile by adding behavioral data that will allow meeting professionals, show organizers and DMOs to tailor their conventions and exhibitions to maximize on needs, attitudes and preferences indicated by potential attendees.
 
Samplings of the data presented in Decision to Attend Study – Phase One report include:

  • One-half of attendees combine attending a meeting with a vacation opportunity, resulting in additional room nights.
  • Another half of attendees bring someone with them, multiplying overall spend.
  • Three-quarters of attendees take advantage of destination offerings by ‘getting out and about’, with Gen Y Millenials leading the pack at 85 percent.
  • Eight in 10 will recommend the destination, exhibition and/or event to others, if the experience is positive.
  • Three-quarters of attendees will consider returning to the destination for leisure travel, if the experience is positive.

"This study proves that today's attendees are seasoned, discerning consumers," Mickey Schaefer said. "Yet, the true group profile of what attendees do 'outside the walls' of the event remains elusive. The vision is to maximize attendance by learning the nuances of each group in order to match attendees to their preferred environment." 
 
Decision to Attend Study – Phase Two will gather information from all sides of the industry in an effort to create a new behavioral profile of attendees. By blending industry input with the study's findings, strategies can then be created to inform site selection and develop content and networking that best meets attendees' needs. To share insights, take the first survey at www.DecisionToAttend.com.


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About the Author: James Latham

James Latham


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